Ryley Walker is not bashful about his love for the Dave Matthews Band. In fact, the adventurous Chicago musician recently had a chance to meet Mr. Matthews himself, where the two discussed Walker’s recent re-recording of The Lillywhite Sessions.
“We hung out, and it was surreal and great,” Walker says. “He’s as nice as they come. He really dug the record.”
NUVO: Talk to me a little bit about Chicago’s jazz scene and how you originally got involved with it.
RYLEY WALKER: I’m hardly involved. I just have a lot of great pals who do it well. I think they are all very inspiring. I got involved from the ground up. Just went to gigs and formed some great friendships.
NUVO: What do you like about the jazz community in Chicago right now?
WALKER: It’s super far-out and creative. Feels futuristic.
NUVO: In that same vein, I know you’re pretty ingrained with Chicago’s experimental community as well. I recently chatted with Macie from Ohmme about how exciting things are in that capacity. Who or what excites you about the experimental music community in Chicago?
WALKER: The sheer amount of collaboration is super exciting to see. It’s amazing that everybody is super busy with making tunes.
NUVO: You did a re-recording of The Lillywhite Sessions this past year. What do you like about Dave Matthews’ songwriting on the project? What do you like about his songwriting overall?
WALKER: Dave is just part of my youth, and it was a blast to do. Overall, I think there is a lot of great energy, and his live gig pushes the limits.
NUVO: How did you first link up with Dead Oceans and what do you like about being a part of the Secretly family?
WALKER: They keep their ear to the ground for the newest tunes. I also had some friends who knew them. It’s a great fit, and they have supported me all the way from the start.
NUVO: If you could do your own rendition of a Secretly release (old or new), what would it be and why?
WALKER: Anything by Destroyer would be great. It would be a real challenge to take on his music. Mad genius.
NUVO: With it being this time of year, what’s your favorite holiday song and why?
WALKER: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Because it’s about an insane person hearing voices that aren’t there.